When a close friend is stricken with cancer, Wilna Wilkinson decides to walk the Camino, the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, to find a challenge as close as possible to her friend’s battle against the incurable disease. With no answers on how to cope with the situation, her feelings of helpless ineffectiveness drive her to tackle the 850km journey in the middle of the European winter.
This is the spiritual journey of a woman who chooses to walk alone, in the heart of winter, and who generously offers to take the reader by the hand to share her experience.
On both a physical and a mental level the Camino – from the heart of France into the northern territories of Spain over the awesome heights of the Pyrenees - is a more demanding challenge than any Wilna has ever had to face in her privileged life.
The Way of Stars and Stones offers practical advice and information about walking the Camino. In addition there are spiritual reflections; an overlap of history and personal observation, of perception and of reality, of deep thought and light humour. Wilna candidly introduces the reader to many of her fellow pilgrims and travellers, she pulls you into their conversations, invites you to eavesdrop on their confessions and to listen to their myriad points of view. She cries with you when you learn their inspirational stories, she laughs with you when their humour fills the refuge dormitories.
The author has pledged all royalties from the sales of this book to cancer research.
About the Author
Wilna Wilkinson’s entire life has been a joyful journey of discovery. From the first time she managed to reach the top branches in the big old Belhambra tree in the bottom corner of the garden of the home of her childhood – and discovered that from there she could see not only to the end of the street but even further - she wanted to be out there and learn, and experience more.
Wilna Wilkinson was born and educated in Pretoria. Soon after finishing her studies at Pretoria University, she got down from her tree lookout and set off on her gypsy wanderings around the globe.
As a speech writer, a coach in presentation skills and public speaking – and in particular as a motivational speaker – she has travelled and worked all over the world. She had regaled and delighted audiences from Iceland to Mexico, Japan to Canada, Malawi to Brisbane, Birmingham to Bangkok, and trained people in all walks of life to believe in themselves and to speak up for that which they believe in.
A few years ago she packed up her old life and started a new one – in a 13th Century fairy castle (which stands with its feet in the Dordogne River) in the countryside of south west France.
Here she makes her own contribution to the conservation of our beautiful planet by, for instance buying only food from the local farmers. She also makes a cultural contribution to the local community by hosting a monthly ‘Soiree for Interesting Women’, teaching English at the little local university and organising regular musical evenings to introduce exciting new musicians and hosting literary dinner parties to which she attracts some of the best French authors of the day.
“The Camino changed my life completely,” Wilna says. “Because there was so much I could tell, so much I still think about and so much I wanted to share with everyone to get them thinking too, that I had to sit down and write about my experiences and my observations on the pilgrimage. In a way the writing process was reliving and recreating the original experience. I am hoping that it will be the same for the reader.”
And will she walk it again? “You can bet your bottom dollar I will do so the first opportunity I get!”
|Parameters of Book: Book|
|Sub-title:||Thoughts on a pilgrimage|
|Size (mm):||235 x 155mm|
|Colour:||Black & White|